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Book: Climate Risk in Africa – Adaptation and Resilience

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Adaptations and strategies to build resilience are needed to manage current impacts and will be increasingly vital as the world continues to warm. But making adaptation decisions can be complex, requiring careful consideration of multiple factors and perspectives, and balancing different priorities over different timescales. Society is embarking on a learning process that will continue for decades. This chapter and the book it introduces aim to contribute to this process. The book draws extensively from the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) research programme that aimed to support adaptation and resilience in sub-Saharan Africa. In this chapter, we first briefly review the planning landscape for adaptation and building resilience and then consider how applications are changing the nature of climate information and the context of its use. This is followed by a review of the current status of climate information, particularly future projections for Africa and the enduring challenge that uncertainty represents to their active use. We then ask how we can improve the use of climate information for resilience building and adaptation and present an overview of the coming chapters. The demand for information and guidance on adaptation is continuing to grow, and is highlighting the need for new types and formats of data, and more innovative interactions with users to increase usability and application. Climate plays a dynamic role within complex, rapidly evolving social-ecological systems; this requires the climate science, resilience and adaptation communities to engage widely with other sectors and actors to make the agenda relevant and tractable for policy and practice.